Is Canada’s Flair Airlines About To Go Bust? Can’t Charge For Checked Bags Or Sell Tickets

Just six weeks ago there were rumors that Canadian ultra low cost carrier Flair would be acquiring local rival Lynx. Lynx ceased operations a month ago. Soon Flair may not be around at all either?

Flair operates 18 Boeing 737s and turns 20 next year. It operates to 10 Canadian destinations, along with destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States. There have been signs of trouble for awhile. They were sued for missing lease payments on their planes which were repossessed a year ago. They’re behind in taxes.

Now they can’t even sell tickets, presumably having been shut down by their payment processor? (via Enilria)

Apparently they haven’t sold tickets on their website since Friday. Now, the Flair website points customers to an online travel agency to book tickets. Have you ever seen an airline encourage people to book away instead of booking direct?

In fact, according to one report, “they stopped loading buy on board because they can’t sell it and bags are now free” because it seems they can’t process bag charges.

It seems almost responsible to run stories like, “Flair Airlines steady amid turbulent Canadian low-cost segment: CEO”.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It isn’t confidence inspiring when an airline can’t even spell “patience” correctly in their tweet image.

  2. Southwest is waiting in the wings to scoop up the 18 MAX 8 and two 800 series B737. Cheap way to gain compatible airframes and maybe expand into Canada!!
    The pilots at Southwest have already engaged legal advice in anticipation of an acquisition some weeks ago.

    ♫♫”O Canada!
    Our home and native land! “♫♫

  3. I had no problems booking a flight this morning on, Mar 26/2024. No redirects to other sites.

  4. Southwest may want the planes, but 777 Partners are going to send them on a long, long flight to another continent, where cans of purple paint and a new cute name will be ready for their arrival.

  5. Exit Row – can you elaborate on your source/confidence in this? First I’ve heard of this anywhere and can’t find any other similar rumors from a google search. Canadian airlines need to be owned >50% by Canadians, so Southwest could never acquire the whole thing and operate in Canada.

    As you say, planes may be attractive but Flair’s owner has been charging them 20% “payment in kind” interest that they can’t afford and is continuously building – would be expensive to acquire the whole company and wipe out all this debt just to get the tails

  6. Flair is not being transparent and I would hypothesize the CEO is lying. Do they owe the government tens of millions of dollars or not? There was an incident in Vegas in January that the delay was blamed to a staffing shortage at the fuel supplier yet not other airline was significantly delayed. How is that?
    They have spread themselves so thin because their margins for profit are so thin that they can’t even spare or charter a plane for Cancun this week and they likely can’t pay bills on time.

  7. I was stuck in Cancun on March break with Flair. I have a pretty good feeling I won’t be getting my delay compensation from this company before they claim bankruptcy.

  8. Well anyone would be nuts to book with them now. The writing is all over the walls. Don’t come on here and complain that you were stranded somewhere.

  9. This is bullshit. Flair just happily processd my payment for seat selectiin on a flight tomorrow. I woukd have taken anything without paying if it werent for this story. Where can i send my invoice?

  10. It’s too bad that all Low Cost Canadian airlines are going down, to be honest they can’t be competitive with major carriers,. The taxes they pay to operate is so high. Look in Europe and Asia their business is thriving. Not in Canada in monopoly of big airlines control all. But at least we still have #porterairlines which is about to settle in with #airtransat with codeshare with European carriers. I feel kinda sad I loved #flair and #Lynx and even Roots. And now this comes to an end. ✈️

  11. Those of you saying this post was alarmist are simply wrong. Yes, Flair is processing payments again about ~ 5 days. THEIR PAYMENT PROCESSOR APPEARS TO HAVE CUT THEM OFF AND THEY FOUND A NEW COMPANY TO PROCESS PAYMENTS. They were too big a risk for the company that had been handling payments. Proceed with extreme caution.

  12. This click bait article is a sad reflection on the state of “media” these days. My wife just booked on Flair and then paid for bags at the airport.

  13. 3 years ago, flair delayed my flight twice then cancelled it due to weather in Toronto. Would not compensate me, had to book with WestJet to fly back to Toronto from Vegas. Other airlines coming from Toronto were fine. Seriously, never again flying with flair. Glad they buried themselves.

  14. No @Greg – their payment processor appears to have cut them off. They were unable to accept payments for several days. This was due to risk of collapse. They do have a new payment processor at this point. Proceed with caution.

    Believe me, there’s no such thing as clickbait about Canadian ultra low cost carrier Flair. Almost no one that reads this site is going to care about them.

  15. Who cares? I took a Porter flight to Edmonton yesterday. It was probably the best flight I’ve ever had. I won’t miss Flair.

  16. I recently flew to Cancun, Mexico with my family for vacation. I tried to do check in online with for the return flight and got the message that boarding passes will be issued at the airport after the luggage is processed. I already prepaid for one large suitcase. My family consists of me, my wife, and two small children. We had to stand in the long line and see how all the passengers are checked to make sure their personal item is not larger than allowed maximum dimension. When it was our turn, we went to the counter and were checking in our suitcase. The person at the counter asked another flair airline worker to stop what she was doing and check our personal items. I reorganized these items and they were within allowed maximum. Then it turned out that our suitcase was 1 pound over allowed maximum. I put our passports and the credit card on the counter and took out some heavy items to be within allowed maximum. As I was doing it, flair person at the counter swiped my card. After I got through the gate, I got a text message that $10 CAD was charged for one extra pound or kilogram of overweight luggage. This was done without my consent, as I already got the weight of my suitcase within allowed maximum. I fly a lot in different parts of the world, but I never seen something like this. Flair is trying to nickel and dime their customers and try to make money on everything. When we got on the plane, flight attendants did not allow to put personal items in above luggage compartment, only under the seat because these items were not paid luggage items. I will try to avoid flair at all costs in the future.

  17. I wouldn’t fly Flair. They will be broke and leave you behind to find your own way back.

  18. I was able to book on March 26 and 27 and booked baggage and seats. The site did have problems on the weekend. But working great once again.

  19. @Walter, so, your biggest complaint is that you had to pay $10 extra for a family of four returning from Mexico because your luggage was oversized and over-weight? And your plan was to take the over-weight times out of your suitcase and what, carry them in your hand?
    Then after refusing to pay for overhead compartment access, you still wanted to put your personal (free) items up there anyway, when other passengers have paid for that service?
    Unfortunately, it is self-entitled customers like you who delay flights for everyone else and give the airline staff (from counter to onboard) a hard time when they are only trying to do their jobs, in order to give you the cheap fares you wanted in the first place.
    It’s nobody’s loss but yours for you to go back to higher cost airlines for your sun trips, if that is what you prefer. I prefer to pay a la carte for services I want in order to have a lower overall cost, and don’t mind doing so.

  20. It might not have been getting cut off as the payment provider changing the terms, such as a larger hold-back amount, increased cost on the merchant fee, longer holding period, etc. Moneris & Chase are the 2 big providers in Canada – and they also tie in credit rating from First Data (in Florida).

    Getting a merchant account to sign with an airline is one of the MOST difficult things in the world – its not getting the FAA/DOT or Transport Canada approvals anymore.

    Its not as easy as filling out an application and getting a rate & login at Stripe, its a horrible, aweful process.

    I believe the merchant processor at Frontier is why they also filed bankruptcy a while back… they increased their holdback by a few million $$$.

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